Although recent advances in broad-scale gene expression analysis have dramatically increased our knowledge of the repertoire of mRNAs present in multiple cell types, it has become increasingly clear that examination of the expression, localization, and associations of the encoded proteins will be critical for determining their functional significance. In particular, many signaling receptors, transducers, and effectors have been proposed to act in higher-order complexes associated with physically distinct areas of the plasma membrane. Adult muscle stem cells (satellite cells) must, upon injury, respond appropriately to a wide range of extracellular stimuli: the role of such signaling scaffolds is therefore a potentially important area of inquiry. To address this question, we first isolated detergent-resistant membrane fractions from primary satellite cells, then analyzed their component proteins using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Transmembrane and juxtamembrane components of adhesion-mediated signaling pathways made up the largest group of identified proteins; in particular, neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM), a multifunctional cell-surface protein that has previously been associated with muscle regeneration, was significant. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that not only is NCAM localized to discrete areas of the plasma membrane, it is also a very early marker of commitment to terminal differentiation. Using flow cytometry, we have sorted physically homogeneous myogenic cultures into proliferating and differentiating fractions based solely upon NCAM expression.